5 Natural Ways to Mosquito-Proof Your Yard
Keep pests at bay and stay bite-free with these easy tips and DIY projects — no chemicals required.
Last year was my first year as a homeowner, and my first year dealing with a mosquito-infested yard. Admittedly, I did little to deter them, but they were everywhere, waiting to strike every time I stepped outside. Mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance; they can also carry dangerous diseases like the West Nile virus and the Zika virus. This year, I'm determined to get my mosquito problem under control, but I'm reluctant to douse my yard (or myself) with chemicals. If you, too, want to prevent mosquitoes the safe and natural way, try these simple tips and DIY projects.
Banish Standing Water
The best way to keep mosquitoes at bay is to eliminate their breeding sites. Check your entire property for standing water, paying particular attention to places where it's prone to collect: clogged gutters, pet bowls, kiddie pools, watering cans, tarps, trays underneath potted plants. Keep your lawn mowed and weeds under control to prevent water from pooling in foliage.
If you have a birdbath or pond in your yard, consider treating it with Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. This naturally occurring bacterium kills mosquito larvae but isn't harmful to humans or animals. Pick some up at your local garden center.
Hang a Bat House
Thin out the mosquito population by inviting their predators, such as bats, dragonflies and swallows, into your yard. With just one bat house, you can host up to 50 brown bats, who can eat thousands of mosquitoes each night. Buy one at a home improvement store, or make your own.
Make This: How to Build a Bat House
Buy or DIY Citronella Candles
Citronella candles can be effective at keeping mosquitoes away, but only if they're the real deal; some store-bought candles merely contain a synthetic citronella scent rather than the essential oil. With just a few supplies, you can make an army of these homemade citronella candles. Light them around the perimeter of your outdoor living spaces to create a mosquito-free zone.
Make This: DIY Citronella Candles
Blow Them Away
If you can't enjoy a pleasant evening on the porch without being eaten alive, just turn the fan on (or install one if needed). Mosquitoes are fairly weak fliers, so they'll avoid your outdoor living spaces if there's a breeze.
Repel Them With Plants
Certain plants and herbs, such as marigolds, lavender, lemon balm and basil, are said to have mosquito-repellent properties. However, opinions are mixed on whether simply having these plants in your yard is enough to ward off the pesky critters. For a more potent solution, make these herbal bundles and toss them on the fire or BBQ during your next outdoor get-together.
Make This: Herbal Mosquito Bundles
If all else fails and you find yourself with itchy, painful bites, soothe them with these 12 remedies.